[SOLVED] Is it Win 10 or Dell? Slow start, locks up etc

mike the car guy

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Hoping someone might be able to help before I break out the lighter fluid and a match.

Dell Inspirion 15, 3000 series, laptop. I3 5015U processor, 2.1G, Win 10 home, 64 bit, 2004 win build, but it's never been good. ~4 years old.

This thing has been a POS since I bought it, but it's gotten worse. Wife claimed it after I went back to my old 2005 1.6 Celeron XP laptop. I've modest PC knowledge, far from expert, but the extended family IT guy. Typing this on an XP machine I built 10 years ago and it's still running ok, although it's showing it's age.

Often, very slow to start and will hang. Often it will get slower and slower, then not work at all. Sometimes just internet, various browsers, it's the machine/OS, not the browser. Typically it means it's updated and wants to install and restart, or it might be it wants to update. Seems daily, but realistically it's at least twice a week, probably 3 times. Update Tuesday? Ha, update daily. Today it locked up on what turned out to be "Preparing security options" I think it was. Push and hold on the start button was the only thing that worked. A couple of times pulling the battery was the only thing that worked. Lightweight use, some local games, not online, some internet, a fraction of what I do with mine. Commonly it will lose WIFI and needs to be disconnected then reconnected to make it work. I've disabled everything I can at startup to try to improve it, but it's still a slug.

I've been dealing with PCs since DOS 3.5. Then Dos 5, Win 3.1, 95, 98, NT 4.0, 2000, XP, 7 and this thing. This is the only one I've hated, and boy do I hate it. But they can't all be like this, can they? Or are they? Would a 10 Pro key off ebay do any good?

Help appreciated.
 

Colif

Win 10 Master
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is it this one? https://www.cnet.com/products/dell-inspiron-3558-15-6-core-i3-5015u-4-gb-ram-1-tb-hdd-english/
4gb of ram and a super slow hdd... Dell design these things to punish the people who buy them. Once you used an ssd, you can't go back.

When was last time you defragged hdd? How much data is on it?

Its possible the hdd is just dying. I would replace it with an ssd and then you can fight wife for owns pc again... maybe that isn't a smart move :) But it would speed up laptop.

more ram would help too.

reinstalling win 10 might also speed it up.
follow this guide: https://forums.tomshardware.com/faq/how-to-do-a-clean-installation-of-windows-10.3170366/

Pro key won't help, the differences between win 10 Home & Pro aren't helpful for home users. Its not any better at performance. Its not like the past.
 

Colif

Win 10 Master
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is it this one? https://www.cnet.com/products/dell-inspiron-3558-15-6-core-i3-5015u-4-gb-ram-1-tb-hdd-english/
4gb of ram and a super slow hdd... Dell design these things to punish the people who buy them. Once you used an ssd, you can't go back.

When was last time you defragged hdd? How much data is on it?

Its possible the hdd is just dying. I would replace it with an ssd and then you can fight wife for owns pc again... maybe that isn't a smart move :) But it would speed up laptop.

more ram would help too.

reinstalling win 10 might also speed it up.
follow this guide: https://forums.tomshardware.com/faq/how-to-do-a-clean-installation-of-windows-10.3170366/

Pro key won't help, the differences between win 10 Home & Pro aren't helpful for home users. Its not any better at performance. Its not like the past.
 

mike the car guy

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Yep, that sure looks like the one. I never really liked it from the day I bought it, but it's definitely gotten worse.

And I had considered that it might be the HDD, Task Manager shows it maxed out for a while on startup, but it will also routinely slow to a crawl while running which usually means it wants to update or install updates. A restart (with some delay while it's doing it's thing) then restores functionality, which suggested to me it wasn't the HDD. It's probably been a while since a defrag, but it seems like it always says it's not needed. HDD probably has 200-300G on it, nowhere near full on the 1T capacity.

I was whining about it to a friend who is a network admin at a local bank and his comment was home version, that's your problem, you need pro, which is why I asked about a pro key.
 

Colif

Win 10 Master
Moderator
Could be windows just needs a refresh

4gb more ram would reduce amount of usage of hdd as well, less need to use page file.

I don't think adding the extra features of Pro to a machine with 4gb of ram would improve matters. It would likely run extra things you don't need.

the main differences are a bunch of things you don't need - https://www.microsoft.com/en-au/windows/compare-windows-10-home-vs-pro about only thing I would like is Group Policy, rest is not really missed
 
I've been dealing with PCs since DOS 3.5. Then Dos 5, Win 3.1, 95, 98, NT 4.0, 2000, XP, 7 and this thing. This is the only one I've hated, and boy do I hate it. But they can't all be like this, can they? Or are they? Would a 10 Pro key off ebay do any good?
Doesn't help right now - but I sincerely cannot resist replying to this.

There are better alternatives out there. There exists alternatives out there (believe it or not) - that
  • Doesn't collect personal information, nor require an online account.
  • Let the user choose when to update.
  • Can be running directly from USB so the user can test it before deciding to install or not.
  • And - I can make this a long list, but those are already covered here and several other places.
  • And - doesn't cost anything to the end user (unless deciding to support by volunteer donation)
But for some reason - this is the point I've struggle to understand - People just must have Windows. Because it's familiar?

For such a computer as described here, I believe that one of these Linux distros would fit perfectly:
Linux Mint Mate ; MX Linux ; Linux Lite ; Ubuntu Mate
All those does support a Live ISO image - meaning you can make a bootable usb stick (need a program like Balena etcher, Rufus, etc to make it bootable) and then you can try to boot from usb and see if this is something you like.

And again - I'm sorry if this is all out of question - and If I push too hard. But I see so many people have this sort of issues with current Windows, especially on lower end hardware and maybe old installation - and because I use Linux myself I know there is a way out, but the way may be difficult - take some time to learn new things - and need commitment - maybe not so different from a bad relationship :unsure:

Have a look at this video for newcomers.


Cheers
 

mike the car guy

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It's getting worse by the day, getting almost unusable, maybe I'll look into a refresh. But it never really ran well, so maybe a SS HDD. And more memory. So I'm into a day of work and a hundred bucks or more. The thought of a new PC has more than entered my mind, but I fear it would still run like Win 10 and not be much better. And I don't think the hardware is that bad that it shouldn't at least be usable.

RE: Linux. That will probably go in on a dual boot on my next desktop just to see. But this is my wife's and she's not tech savvy.
 
It's getting worse by the day, getting almost unusable, maybe I'll look into a refresh. But it never really ran well, so maybe a SS HDD. And more memory. So I'm into a day of work and a hundred bucks or more. The thought of a new PC has more than entered my mind, but I fear it would still run like Win 10 and not be much better. And I don't think the hardware is that bad that it shouldn't at least be usable.

RE: Linux. That will probably go in on a dual boot on my next desktop just to see. But this is my wife's and she's not tech savvy.
The hardware is pretty bad for nowadays. 4GB of RAM is way too small.

The CPU is a 2 cores 4 threads. I have a laptop with a Celeron Dual Core and it is slow. I had to upgrade the 4GB of RAM and the HDD to 8GB and SSD and now it's more tolerable. I was about to throw it out the Windows before I upgraded it.

A new PC is what you will need if you don't want to upgrade it and don't worry new systems run Windows 10 without any issues.
 

mike the car guy

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I guess I was smitten with a 1T HD and i3 instead of Celeron when I bought it and thought it was better hardware than it was. Upgrading for a hundred bucks or so isn't the end of the world, but I'd be really upset if I did that and it was the same old POS it is now. Same with a new PC, if that's whats needed, ok, but again, I'd be really upset if I spent money for a new one and it was just as bad.

Everyone can't be having the Win 10 experience I am, although it doesn't appear I'm alone either. But I just fired up a still different XP laptop, 12 years old but a nice one at the time, and bam, booted up just like it's supposed to in under a minute and everything just worked. Why can't 10 do the same thing?

If I do spring for a new machine, what are the minimum specs I should be looking for, or to avoid? Or brands to avoid?
 

arky217

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I guess I was smitten with a 1T HD and i3 instead of Celeron when I bought it and thought it was better hardware than it was. Upgrading for a hundred bucks or so isn't the end of the world, but I'd be really upset if I did that and it was the same old POS it is now. Same with a new PC, if that's whats needed, ok, but again, I'd be really upset if I spent money for a new one and it was just as bad.

Everyone can't be having the Win 10 experience I am, although it doesn't appear I'm alone either. But I just fired up a still different XP laptop, 12 years old but a nice one at the time, and bam, booted up just like it's supposed to in under a minute and everything just worked. Why can't 10 do the same thing?

If I do spring for a new machine, what are the minimum specs I should be looking for, or to avoid? Or brands to avoid?
@ Mike the car guy,

You really should consider what Grobe said in reply #5.

I've been using Linux for over 15 years and today's Linux distros
really do leave Windows in the dust.

If you installed Linux Lite (that's what I currently use, and it's one of
the best Linux distros there is for an easy transition from Windows to Linux), you would think that machine of yours turned into a super
computer.

I've personally installed Linux on computers of quite a number of previous Windows users, and have yet to have anyone want to
return to Windows.

Basically, it's a matter of you controlling your computer with Linux,
rather than your computer controlling you with Windows.

But rather than take my or Grobe's word for it, why not install
Linux Lite and see for yourself. One thing about it, it won't cost
you anything but a little of your time to try it.

Cheers, and good luck.
 

Colif

Win 10 Master
Moderator
i think its the fact his wife uses it, and he probably doesn't want to have to learn the OS at same time as showing her.

Linux would be ideal for my mums PC too but I am not in a hurry to show her how to use that. She knows how to use the basics now on windows and that took a few years.

Anything looks good compared to Celerons. I would aim for more cores than 2, it will help just as much as more ram and ssd
 

mike the car guy

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i think its the fact his wife uses it, and he probably doesn't want to have to learn the OS at same time as showing her.
Exactly. While she's gotten proficient in online shopping and Amazon, she's still terribly intimidated and struggles to even save something. Throwing a new OS at her would just not be a good idea, especially if I couldn't easily answer her questions about it and what to do.

Ordered another 4G of memory last night along with a SS HHD. Took it apart first just to make sure I got the right stuff and it would fit.
 

mike the car guy

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Got a SSD, hooked it and the old one up to my old XP desktop, loaded up Acronis and set out to clone it. I could see it in Device Manager, but not Disk Management let alone Windows explorer. Putzed around for a while trying this and that but nada. Threw it back in, came up with an error screen that eventually said the HD was toast and the alarms went off. Sounded like the up/down of an European ambulance. In my ear.

Now the only question is do I try to get a recovery disk out out of Dell, complete no doubt with all the junk Dell puts in there or just buy one off ebay? Dell will let you download the software, but not on XP and it was my only non XP machine.

Agggg. The cost of a cheap computer.
 

Colif

Win 10 Master
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So which PC doesn't work? The Win 10 one?

if its the new one, do you know anyone who can make the installer for you? Don't need to buy it, can make on USB - download the Windows 10 media creation tool and use it to make a win 10 installer on USB

Your licence might be tied to machine. So no need to buy a new one.

You should be able to clean install win 10 onto the ssd - follow this guide: https://forums.tomshardware.com/faq/how-to-do-a-clean-installation-of-windows-10.3170366/

Hard part is recovering anything off old hdd if its dead. Sure is good timing if it died right as you replaced it. Explains why it was so slow.
 

mike the car guy

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Of course it's the Win 10 one that doesn't work! I tried, and probably did download the ISO file, but couldn't seem to find a way to transfer it to USB. The Dell tech (the second one, who while pretty hard to understand actually seemed pretty bright and helpful, unlike the first) assured me the license is on the MOBO. I finally just bought one off ebay for $25, disc and license, just in case. I'm good at spending hours chasing pennies so this time I decided to try to just spend a few bucks rather than hours and hours finding a way to make it work.

There were literally about 3 unique files on the failed HD, which I'd already copied. Thousands and thousands of pictures, but they are the copies so nothing lost but my time in copying them again. About as painless a HD loss as there could be.

What will be interesting is how it runs, if I've been cursing MS and Win 10 mistakenly, or if it's still just as big a turkey, but booting faster now.
 

Colif

Win 10 Master
Moderator
You won't need the licence if the licence is tied to motherboard, just use the installer (even though its going to be an old version of win 10) and reinstall it. When you reach screen asking for licence, click "I don't have one" and win 10 will continue to install and should auto activate once it connects to the internet

Your licence, details of PC and possibly an email address are all on a Microsoft server. Once PC is on desktop after the install it will try to activate itself by contacting the activation servers and confirming you have a licence.

copying things onto ssd way faster than hdd though.
 
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mike the car guy

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Update.

New SSHD, extra 4G of memory, Win 10 DVD, loaded it up and bam, boots up right now. Faster than XP, probably under 30 seconds, or not much more. So it now appears it was the Dell computer with a slow Toshiba HD that was dying. Who knows, I might have to change my opinion of Win 10 which I've been cursing for years. Install was under 20 minutes. For now it doesn't appear I need a license, it hasn't prompted me for it yet, so I've got a spare. A bit over $100 to fix a $300 when new box. Of course with current prices it would be a lot more to replace it now.

WIFI won't hook up though. Seems like a local problem, it sees it, but won't connect, so I don't think it's the computer. Now to spend all night loading everything up and trying to get WIFI working.

Not quite there, but close. Thanks for the help guys!
 

Colif

Win 10 Master
Moderator
Win 10 also takes less time to update after a clean install, since if you grab a new installer each time, you only going to get about 5 patches after install. New SSD and yeah, 20 minutes later you on desktop. No messing around now. Installing all the programs later is the long part.

win 10 likely already activated itself if its been connected to internet at all. Otherwise it will 1st time it can. You don't have to do anything.

try checking you have newest WIFI driver, I don't know what chip it uses. Can always go here and let it scan pc - https://www.dell.com/support/home/en-au/product-support/product/inspiron-15-3558-laptop/drivers - latest drivers there are from july for WIFI anyway
 

mike the car guy

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I did see that, at first I thought how is that going to work without WIFI, then had the duh realization, it's a laptop, I can just hook up a network cable. But I've had problems with the ISP supplied WIFI router with another computer too so it may not be a driver issue.

Actually loading programs isn't the time consuming part, it's the 200G of pictures that I have to copy off one before I can load them on another.
 

Colif

Win 10 Master
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Problem with 1 PC with ssd and one without is the XP machine will feel even slower now.

You need to replace/upgrade it as well. SSD on XP would be silly fast.

You might need to add a booster to the WIFI signal or replace router if they let you use your own. I need a new router, my last 2 PC have had better internet than my router can do. Same applies to phones.
 

mike the car guy

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Oh I know I'm overdue for replacing at least a couple of the old XP machines. The desktop still runs ok, but more and more just won't run on XP, as much as I like it. Not to mention it's 10 years old, which is what, 112 in people years? But I built it for reliability so I guess I did ok.

My ISP is noted for having good customer service so they might be able to help, otherwise a WIFI router isn't that expensive either, just kind of a pain to have to do.
 

mike the car guy

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Well, it's pretty close to going back to the wife, it works better than it ever did, but IMO it's still a slow turd compared to my 10 year old XP build. Nothing like having 5 computers in the house, 4 of them are obsolete (XP) but the only one that isn't is the only one I hate. Updating drivers did the trick on both WIFI and two finger scrolling.

I think this is only the 3rd HD failure I've seen, but the other have all been pretty much right now, this thing was failing for months, if not ever since it was new.

Thanks again for everyones help, especially Colif.
 

Colif

Win 10 Master
Moderator
i haven't had a hdd death in about 10 years I think. Last one was a velociraptor and they kill themselves over time.

1 less problem :)

Notices CPU is a dual core... spits at Dell again. SSD is faster but on a Dual core? you probably right that other PC are better. they not on an OS that expects more from them than they can deliver. Win 10 is fine, but when its on a Dell they strangle all the fun out of it. Make a decent pc and it is fine, just don't use dell. Shame it is a laptop, you pay for better specs in them.
 
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mike the car guy

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Postmortem. I took the cover off the old HD to take it apart, just to see. That's what I do. The arm that the heads are mounted on wouldn't even move into the platter area without unreasonable force. How it didn't crash, or maybe it did, I don't know. Oh well. I'm not going to fix that one.
 

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